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(born c. 500, Clazomenae, Anatoliadied c. 428 BC, Lampsacus) Greek philosopher. Though only a few fragments of his writings have survived, he is remembered for his cosmology and for his discovery of the true cause of eclipses. His cosmology grew out of the efforts of earlier pre-Socratics to explain the physical universe in terms of a single element. The most original aspect of his system was his doctrine of nous (mind, or reason), according to which the cosmos, including all living things, was created by mind in a process of attraction of like to like; mind also accounts for the power of living things to extract nourishment from surrounding substances.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Anaxagoras, visit Britannica.com.